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HBO CEO: Sharing HBO Go Passwords Is Great for Marketing

by Todd Haselton | January 19, 2014January 19, 2014 8:00 am PST

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You might think that the head of a major media house would frown upon sharing. After all, sharing content is often viewed by big corporations as “theft,” and that’s wrong, right? Well, HBO’s CEO sees it a bit differently, at least in regards to the HBO Go paid streaming service. The company’s CEO Richard Piepler recently made comments in regards to HBO Go subscribers who share their passwords with one another, and they might surprise you.

“It’s not that we are unmindful of it, but it has no real effect on the business,” Pipler said of password sharing. “To us, it’s in many ways a terrific marketing vehicle for the next generation of viewers…. We’re in the business of creating addicts” That’s actually pretty true. Think of it this way: your friend lets you borrow his or her password to watch Game of Thrones. You end up loving it and, come next season, decide maybe you’ll subscribe to HBO to catch the latest episodes each week. Or put differently by Piepler: parents may share passwords with kids who end up ultimately growing up, leaving the house, and wanting an HBO account of their own.

Of course you can’t just call up all of your friends and binge watch Boardwalk Empire separately; HBO only allows three streams at once, and the company tries to make sure password sharing isn’t abused. Either way, it’s refreshing to hear HBO’s rules don’t seem as archaic as some of its competitors.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...